noun (1)

Synonyms & Antonyms of toil

(Entry 1 of 3)

very hard or unpleasant work
  • after years of toil in a sweatshop, Kim was finally able to start her own dressmaking business

Synonyms for toil

Words Related to toil

Near Antonyms for toil

Antonyms for toil


noun (2)

Synonyms of toil (Entry 2 of 3)

usually toils plural something that catches and holds
  • a married woman hopelessly caught in the toils of an extramarital affair

Synonyms for toil

Words Related to toil



Synonyms & Antonyms of toil (Entry 3 of 3)

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About toil

How does the noun toil contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of toil are drudgery, grind, labor, travail, and work. While all these words mean "activity involving effort or exertion," toil implies prolonged and fatiguing labor.

his lot would be years of back-breaking toil

When would drudgery be a good substitute for toil?

Although the words drudgery and toil have much in common, drudgery suggests dull and irksome labor.

an editorial job with a good deal of drudgery

When might grind be a better fit than toil?

The words grind and toil can be used in similar contexts, but grind implies labor exhausting to mind or body.

the grind of the assembly line

Where would labor be a reasonable alternative to toil?

The words labor and toil are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, labor applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion.

farmers demanding fair compensation for their labor

When could travail be used to replace toil?

While the synonyms travail and toil are close in meaning, travail is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering.

years of travail were lost when the house burned

When is it sensible to use work instead of toil?

The meanings of work and toil largely overlap; however, work may imply activity of body, of mind, of a machine, or of a natural force.

too tired to do any work

Learn More About toil

Time Traveler for toil

Time Traveler

The first known use of toil was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near toil

to hand



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Cite this Entry

“Toil.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on toil

Nglish: Translation of toil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of toil for Arabic Speakers


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